MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Thomas A. Holmes, Thomas H. Crofts
With the publication of On the Road in 1957, Jack Kerouac became a cultural phenomenon. Crowned the "King" of the Beat Generation, Kerouac embodied the restlessness of Cold War-era America. What no one realized at the time, however, was that the movement that he supposedly led went against Kerouac's own beliefs. Rather than rebellion, Kerouac wanted to write in a way that no one had written before. Heavily influenced by, among others, Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Marcel Proust, Herman Melville, and, especially, James Joyce, Kerouac used the influence of his predecessors to formulate his own style of writing-spontaneous prose. The critics who label Kerouac as a cultural icon akin to James Dean fail to see Kerouac as a serious author. The removal of the cultural fanfare surrounding Kerouac shows the truth about his writing, his influences, and his influence on late-twentieth century literature, including the entire postmodern movement.
Thesis - Open Access
King, Jeffrey Warren, "On the Road from Melville to Postmodernism: The Case for Kerouac's Canonization." (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1921. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1921
Copyright by the authors.